Is your CIO boardroom ready?By: Ade McCormack
Great. You recognize the need for some IT muscle in the top team. But are you sure the incumbent CIO is boardroom-ready?
Don't leave it to chance. Test-drive your CIO with the following scenarios. How the CIO reacts will tell you all you need to know.
Scenario 1: At the next boardroom gathering, the CEO opens the proceedings by announcing that the main topic will be "prison ". This causes the CIO to:
A: Laugh. They assume this is a joke and merely a technique for putting everyone at their ease.
B: Grin. They are delighted to discover that their colleagues are similarly on the same wavelength in respect of "milking" the company.
C: Promptly informs the assembled executives that our IT governance is in place and so the IT department will not be letting the side down.
Scenario 2: The CEO announces that the IT budget is to be halved. The CIO:
A: Breaks down in tears.
B: Accuses the CFO of being ignorant of IT matters and on a power trip to boot.
C: Contacts all heads of department within the next 24 hours trying to sell the IT department's services on a utilization basis.
Scenario 3: The CEO announces a board meeting to convene in five minutes. The CIO:
A: Panics. They are tied up replacing a memory card in the payroll processing mainframe.
B: Berates the CEO and board level people in general for their lack of planning skills.
C: Is first to arrive. The CTO has the current "fires" under control.
Scenario 4: The CFO needs support in handling the acquisition of a competitor. The CIO:
A: Cringes at the prospect of inheriting more IT headaches.
B: Appears to be conducting an impromptu audit of shoelaces and thus manages to avoid eye contact with the CFO until this agenda item has passed.
C: Offers to take charge of the due diligence.
Scenario 5: The CEO raises the issue of poor sales performance. The CIO:
A: Looks relieved. Thank
B: Is pleased to see that the sales director is getting a good dressing-down. After all they are all talk, with a complete disregard for what that department commits the company to delivering.
C: Offers to work with the sales director to review the business development processes in order to ensure that the sales staff and technology are being fully optimized.
Scenario 6: At the end of the board meeting, the subject turns to weekend plans. The CIO:
A: Will be attending a Star Trek convention with the data centre team.
B: Will need to load up MS Project to see what is scheduled.
C: Is hosting a dinner party with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet in attendance.
So how did the CIO do?
Mostly As: they appear to be an inward-looking techie at heart. Not boardroom material and never will be.
Mostly Bs: politically clumsy but exhibits a healthy suspicion of other board members and so will be easy to manage/manipulate.
Mostly Cs: too good. CEO material and so inviting them on board will trigger the countdown for your departure.
Ambitious CIOs, take note.
© Copyright 2008, Ade McCormack
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